Gun prohibition needs to be applied
1/21/2021, 6 p.m.
Once again, citizens of the city of Richmond avoided Downtown on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday as a group of white supremacists smelled their musk and paraded in soldier costumes, flaunting assault weapons, each having a magazine of 30 to 40 bullets.
Clearly, these men meant to instill some fear and trepidation in the citizens of our city like the night riders of the Ku Klux Klan — “Keep them scared.” There is a very thinly veiled threat.
When will this city enforce the laws of the Commonwealth against these tactics? Is this tactic of not applying the laws of the Commonwealth against these men by design of the mayor or the chief of police?
True, Mayor Levar M. Stoney is not a lawyer and might not be familiar with the Virginia’s criminal statutes. But I would assume his Police Chief Gerald Smith, if asked the question “Is this against the law?” would be intelligently advised.
Pursuant to Section 18.2-287.4 of the Virginia Code, “Carry- ing loaded firearms in public areas prohibited; penalties,” it is illegal to carry a loaded weapon with “a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds ... or equipped with a folding stock ... on any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way or in any public park or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public.”
This law applies to 13 specified cities and counties, including Richmond.
There is a lot of recent talk of equal treatment in the criminal justice system in the United States and Virginia.
Mayor Stoney, if you did not know of Va. Code Section 18.2- 287.4, you are getting bad advice, are being intentionally tricked or Chief Smith missed that day at the police academy. One of you, Mr. Mayor or Chief Smith, really should change jobs.
When the white supremacists come to our city, my tax dollars demand the laws that apply to me also apply to them.
Just maybe arresting a few of them and forfeiting their big masculine props could dissuade them. Just maybe.
DAVID P. BAUGH
The writer is a former federal prosecutor and veteran criminal defense attorney.